Ali Williams will captain the Blues for the first time on Saturday when he leads out the side to face the Waratahs in Whangarei.
The 77-test veteran returned to the Blues a month early to kick-start his pre-season training and is joined by sometime All Black Rene Ranger, who lines up at centre in his Northland home, while Chris Noakes starts at first five-eighths.
Wing George Moala will play his first game since fracturing his fibula during the ITM Cup.
All Black prop Charlie Faumuina will get some game time off the bench, while lock Culum Retallick will also come off the pine to play his first game in five months since a foot injury.
Kick-off is 2.30pm Saturday.
Blues: 15. Albert Nikoro, 14. George Moala, 13. Rene Ranger, 12. Francis Saili, 11. Lolagi Visinia, 10. Chris Noakes, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Peter Saili, 7. Luke Braid, 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Ali Williams (C), 4. Liaki Moli, 3. Angus Ta'avao, 2. Quentin MacDonald, 1. Tom McCartney
Reserves: James Parsons, Tim Perry, Culum Retallick, Brendon O'Connor, Charlie Faumuina, Ronald Raaymakers, Kane Barrett, Jamison Gibson-Park, Malakai Fekitoa, Marty McKenzie, Baden Kerr, Waisake Naholo, Frank Halai